Monday, September 3

And peace descended upon the realm

Amidst the chaos of planning (and renovating,) I've been working through a book called Everyday Family Chore System from Everyday Homemaking.  It's been a breath of fresh air and the kids actually cheered when they saw what I was putting together. As the name implies, the book contains a system for assigning and scheduling chores. However, the ebook is much more than a chore system. It has excellent advice and tips, all building on a Christian foundation that teach the WHY of our actions.

So, what was I putting together? A wall chart with a new chore routine for each family member. It's a chart that rotates each week so that no one gets stuck doing chores that aren't their favorite for too terribly long. One week, to be exact. My family has never really done much by way of a chore system. We just all pitched in to get things done. More and more of late, things weren't getting done.With school about to start, I knew we needed to do something different.

Enter, the Everyday Family Chore System. Vicki's system is very simple and easy to do: print the cards, cut them out, and assign the jobs. It's very easy to follow as well: Each child is assigned daily chores and weekly chores, which are theirs for the week. If dishes are on their list of daily chores, they will do dishes every day for a week. If mowing the yard is on their list, they will mow the yard once within that week. The next week, we rotate jobs. So if Ethan was mowing last week, this week is Joel's week to mow.

Some of those jobs that we're rotating are too difficult for the younger kiddos. But they go on their list anyway and they just assist mom in doing the job. Some jobs will take two weeks to learn independently, some jobs will take two years. The "mow the yard" card gets replaced with a "wipe down the chairs" card.

In addition to the daily and weekly cards, there are two more sets of cards. One set gives instructions on how to properly accomplish the daily and weekly task cards. Another set is for the less frequent spring cleaning-type jobs. There is a "job from box" card that I assigned to one child's weekly list. With my four children, we'll have one spring cleaning job finished per week. 

I opted to use a sentence-strip chart, cutting out the task cards and pasting them onto index cards. The book offers many other ways to build a chore chart, all of them much smaller than the version I chose. Sometimes big changes call for big production. And, I had the chart sitting there unused.

Now, this is all lovely and makes for a great system, but the beauty of this ebook is in the wisdom it offers. It begins as more of a parenting book. The 2nd paragraph asks the truly important questions: Envision your children at twelve - or eighteen - years of age. What living skills would you like them to have acquired? What sort of attitude should they demonstrate twoard work? Authority? Serving one another? How will they get to that point? (emphasis mine)

This book covers the how and why. I've read hundreds of parenting and family books, yet I was still scribbling notes madly in the margins. Much of it was a reminder, more than anything. But they were good reminders, founded on Godly principles.

In addition to chores, the book also includes a Life Skills Checklist that offers recommended ages for introducing new skills to children and an age in which they should be able to accomplish the skill independently. For instance, age 3 is a great age to introduce dressing oneself, but the child probably won't be independent at the skill until age 6. A 3 year old can begin to dust furniture, but might not be independent until age 9. Many different skills are shared, all the way up to skills that can be finished independently by age 18.

Once the foundation of discipline and family bonds has been established and the chore system is in place, the book covers how to train children in diligence. When it comes to job rotations, Vicki acknowledges that some children might need some extra practice to learn how to do a job diligently. "If someone has really had a hard time being diligent at a particular job, we don't rotate that job the next month, so she can get some more practice." Attitude in work (and in parenting) is key. Vicki walks parents through the process of modeling Thoroughness, how to help children develop good habits, how to make your home child-friendly, how to establish a comfortable family routine.

The price tag of $17.99 might seem steep for an e-book, but it is a life-altering e-book and well worth the investment.

It's just a beautiful book. It shares the best parts of every homemaking and parenting book I've ever read in a clean, simple way. It's not a huge book, but you wouldn't believe how many gems are in there. There is not a wasted sentence in the book. It's gentle and encouraging and very, very practical. It is exactly what my family needed and I'm so glad we discovered it before beginning our new school year. It really is a fresh start here.

Everyday Homemaking has other publications available, as well as lots of helpful resources on their website. To read more reviews on this company, be sure to check out TOS Crew.
Disclaimer: I received this material in exchange for my honest opinion as a member of the TOS Crew, and received no other form of compensation. For whatever they're worth, the opinions are mine and mine alone, as stated in my disclosure policy.


Andrea said...

I'm always looking at, and trying to come up with, a chore schedule. We never get much accomplished. If "playing video games" could be a chore, we would definitely succeed around here! OIY!

Jenn said...

LOL! Yes, exactly! I'm having the kids turn their cards over as they finish each job, so I know without asking if they've finished their chores. No computer games until all their cards are turned over - don't even ask! So far, so good, but we've just begun. We'll see...

Andrea said...

I think we just need controller removal around here. Like a check out system. Turn in your controllers and iPods at bedtime, get them back.... NEVER! BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

Vicki said...

I love the way yours looks in the sentence strip chart! On the rotation, we started out as weekly, but switched to monthly so the girls could have more practice at the task and each got a chance to actually remember what her jobs were -- sounds like you've found the ideal timing for your own family. Glad you were able to personalize it for your own needs -- that's the goal! :) Thanks for your thorough review.

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